Flora poised to bloom as sustainable brand marketplace launches this year

E-commerce roll-up startup Flora emerged from stealth mode with $9 million in seed funding from an investor group that included Lux Capital, Correlation Ventures, Climate Capital and Gokul Rajaram.

Also known as an aggregator, the company acquires and grows brands — in Flora’s case, focused on offering sustainable products and reducing carbon emissions. Co-founders and co-CEOs Mithat Ulubay and Ugur Kaya started the company in 2021, which now onboarded more than 50 brands.

Prior to starting the company, Ulubay was a private equity investor and former Goldman Sachs investment banker working on investment in technology and e-commerce. Kaya was also in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, focused on consumer retail M&A.

The company is among a small group of e-commerce aggregators, including OpenStore, that recently received venture capital funding amid a not-so-good year for this industry.

What may have helped set Flora apart from other e-commerce aggregators is its proprietary assessment tool that asks members questions about their daily behaviors and then uses that information to measure their carbon footprint and suggest certain brand products to help them reduce that footprint.

“These small brands are not often able to target large audiences, so we are providing them access to the eco-conscious people,” Ulubay told TechCrunch.

Flora is still very much in the early stages, so there were not many growth metrics for Ulubay to disclose right now. He did say the company has a waitlist for its marketplace that will launch in the fourth quarter of 2022. Its brands are already reaching more than 300,000 customers and are saving 10,000 tons of carbon emissions, which Ulubay said is equivalent to the impact of 400,000 trees. The marketplace will have Flora’s brands and will sell other independent brands that have the same eco-conscious mission.

In addition to Lux Capital, Correlation Ventures, Climate Capital and Gokul Rajaram, other investors participating in the seed round include D4 Ventures, Esas Ventures, Paragon Ventures and 23 Fund. Individual investors include Commencis’ Firat and Fatih Isbecer, Livspace’s Ramakant Sharma, Tubular Labs’ Rob Gabel and additional executives and investors from Amazon, Apple, DoorDash, Goldman Sachs, Silverlake and SoftBank.

Ulubay intends to use the funding, which it secured in 2021, to acquire new brands, technology development and product development on its lifecycle assessment tool and future products.

“We are launching in beta mode in the next month and after that will announce the marketplace publicly,” he added. “Our goal is to build a portfolio further and acquire hundreds of brands that help customers. We want to be the ‘Michelin guide’ for sustainability.”